Aston Martin considering appeal after FIA rejects request for review of Vettel disqualification

2021 Hungarian Grand Prix

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Aston Martin have failed in their bid to have Sebastian Vettel’s disqualification from the Hungarian Grand Prix reviewed.

However the team said in a statement it is still considering whether to appeal the decision to strip Vettel of his second place in the race.

Vettel was disqualified when his team were unable to provide a one litre sample of fuel after the race as required by the rules. Only 300ml could be extracted from the Aston Martin.

Aston Martin asked for a review of the decision last week and initiated appeal proceedings. However after considering a submission made by the team, the FIA stewards turned down the request for a review.

In order for a review to be granted, the stewards must discover a new piece of significant and relevant evidence which was unavailable to the competitor when the original decision was reached.

Aston Martin supplied detailed information from its fuel system which it claimed showed it had experienced a failure during the race. As a result “a significant amount of fuel was inadvertently discharged from the fuel cell” of Vettel’s car during the race.

The stewards agreed this evidence constituted a “new element”. However they pointed out it did not change the fact Aston Martin were unable to give a sufficient sample after the race.

Aston Martin originally claimed there was a further 1.44 litres of fuel in Vettel’s car. However, the stewards noted, “an analysis of various data carried out after August 1st, 2021 showed that there was actually less than one litre remaining at the end of the race due to an initially unnoticed malfunction in the fuel system.”

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The F1 rule book “unequivocally calls for a remaining amount of one litre and does not allow any exceptions under which circumstances or for what reasons it could be dispensed with”, they added.

The stewards therefore ruled Aston Martin’s request for an appeal inadmissible, and Vettel’s disqualification stands. However the team subsequently confirmed it is “considering its position in respect of its outstanding appeal”.

Aston Martin team principal Otmar Szafnauer said the team had presented “significant new evidence that we discovered since the race” to the stewards. “We felt that the evidence we presented was relevant and demonstrated to the FIA that he should have been reinstated following his disqualification.

“Unfortunately, the FIA took a different view and, despite the fact that that the accuracy of our new evidence was not contested, Sebastian’s disqualification has been upheld on the basis that the new evidence was not deemed ‘relevant’. That is disappointing, and we will now consider our position in respect of the full appeal process.”

The loss of second place means Aston Martin remain seventh in the championship, behind Alpine, who they would have overtaken had Vettel’s disqualification been overturned.

The decision also has implications for the championship. Lewis Hamilton inherited Vettel’s second place and gained two points on rival Max Verstappen. Hamilton therefore has an eight-point lead in the drivers’ championship, while Mercedes lead the constructors’ title contest by 12 points.

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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52 comments on “Aston Martin considering appeal after FIA rejects request for review of Vettel disqualification”

  1. Really sucks for Vettel, but not really surprising. Rules are clear: 1 liter must be produced, no ifs, ands, or buts.

    a significant amount of fuel was inadvertently discharged from the fuel cell

    I’m quite curious to know where did the fuel go? What exactly does discharged mean in this particular circumstance?

    1. Used up by the engine I suppose? There was no obviously fuel leak on the track so likely just consumed.

      1. @yaru

        You don’t stop the car on the track for nothing. They obviously must have seen some valid glaring data that lead the engineers to tell Vettel to stop the car on the track which is unusual (it does happen sometimes) and really only done in hopes of saving just enough fuel left to pass technical inspection or overheating.
        Interesting that AM didn’t tell FIA what data they were seeing giving the reason to tell Vettel to stop? Only that stating that the fuel flow data says there’s more than enough fuel in the tank, if they believe that so much then why did they stop the car on the track? I think that would be a hard question to answer and sell with a straight face while looking at the seasoned FIA inspector?

        FIA had to pick a volume amount for fuel tests and publish that number in the rule book so all the teams know what amount they must finish with and build a chassis and fuel system around it. It could have been .3L or 1 Gallon, it doesn’t matter as long as all the teams follow it.

        Bummer for Vettel and AM, they lost massively on this with their two closest rivals moving way up the ranks points wise , collecting the most gains from this and potential of losing ten’s of millions is now more real if they stay in 7th.

        I seriously doubt any other team in the paddock would speak up and say let them slide (unless of course they would benefit from it for their own gain :)

    2. My guess is there was a pressure release valve incorporated into the design of the tank, and it operated for some reason, and that when it did operate 700+ ml of fuel was discharged along with some air from the tank. I would assume a pressure relief valve would be sited at the top of the fuel tank, so if this is how the fuel was lost then some situation arose which required fuel to splash up to the top of the fuel tank to activate the pressure relief valve, e.g. hitting a kerb while braking, being hit by another car, etc.

    3. technical regulations states at 6.1.2:
      “However, a maximum of 0.25 litres of fuel may be kept outside the survival cell, but only that which is necessary for the normal running of the engine.”

      I guess this may have played a role in the decision as why it would be impossible to get the 1lt… 0.3l in tank, and max .025 in pipings, pump, and what not, unless it leaked inside survival cell or somewhere else…

      also rest of the ruling:

      6.6 Fuel draining and sampling
      6.6.1 Competitors must provide a means of removing all fuel from the car.
      6.6.2 Competitors must ensure that a 1.0 litre sample of fuel may be taken from the car at any time during the Event.
      After a practice session, if a car has not been driven back to the pits under its own power, it will be required to supply the above mentioned sample plus the amount of fuel that would have been consumed to drive back to the pits. The additional amount of fuel will be determined by the FIA.
      6.6.3 All cars must be fitted with a –2 ‘Symetrics’ male fitting in order to facilitate fuel sampling. If an electric pump on board the car cannot be used to remove the fuel an externally connected one may be used provided it is evident that a representative fuel sample is being taken. If an external pump is used it must be possible to connect the FIA sampling hose to it and any hose between the car and pump must be -3 in diameter and not exceed 2m in length. Details of the fuel sampling hose may be found in the Appendix to the Technical Regulations.
      6.6.4 The sampling procedure must not necessitate starting the engine or the removal of bodywork (other than the nosebox assembly and the cover over any refuelling connector).

      I cant find the max fuel loads, i remember they have to declare their fuel loads before races so they can check some teams if they are lying or not, and if necessary maybe calibrate fuel flows etc.. i remember Charles car was under declared for fuel load almost got dsq… you could theoretically declare 105kg but load 110kg… and use extra 5kg bypassing fuel sensors cough…ferrari never did this kind of cheating… cough

  2. Mark McCubbin
    9th August 2021, 18:48

    Shouldn’t all cars just stop immediately after the finishing line now? Why would anyone risk doing an in lap if you could end up with not enough fuel at the end of it?

    It’s a shame for Vettel. He deserved another podium.

    1. They really should but they don’t cos they usually trust the fuel data. For the most part the data is usually correct but this time, no.

      1. AM knew it was touch and go, why else get Vettel to go into fuel -saving for the last few laps and then stop on track and not return to the pits?

        1. In that case, they have themselves to blame then for cutting it so close.

    2. 1 litre sanple is after you go to parc ferme ,if not then it is 1 litre + additional fuel required to go to parc ferme ,that’s the rule . and also cars loose tyre weight due to wear so they pick up rubber while going to pit to gain extra weight . It all counts .

      Reply moderated
    3. Because the rules state that if you don’t return to the pits and supply the mandatory 1 litre of fuel then the FIA has to take a larger than 1 litre fuel sample. This larger amount comprises the mandatory 1 litre of fuel plus the fuel the car would have drunk while being driven from the Start-Finish Line to the pits. I wouldn’t be surprised if most drivers can drive their car to the pits using far less fuel than what the FIA calculate, e.g. the FIA might rely on race pace data to calculate the fuel consumption, whereas a driver would actually drive back at the most fuel efficient speed. So it is in the team’s own interest for the driver to bring the car back to the pits.

      1. @drycrust

        “Because the rules state that if you don’t return to the pits and supply the mandatory 1 litre of fuel then the FIA has to take a larger than 1 litre fuel sample. This larger amount comprises the mandatory 1 litre of fuel plus the fuel the car would have drunk while being driven from the Start-Finish Line to the pits.”

        This rule (6.6.2) you’re stating above only applies for FP’s & Quali and not for the race. You only have to supply 1L not more after the race if you stop on the track.

        1. @redpill Looking a bit further into this, I wondered why we don’t see the exact scenario Mark posed happen frequently after a Race or Qualifying. I believe we also need to refer to Sporting Regulations Rule 43.3 (parts of it quoted below). So, yes, I was wrong in suggesting Technical Rule 6.6.2 would have applied. I mistakenly thought the Stewards applied that rule about stopping on the track to all sessions even though it only applies to practice sessions. My guess is Sporting Regulation 43.3 is the rule that would apply if a driver was thinking of stopping on the track at the end a race (or whatever) so as to make sure they had the mandatory 1 litre of fuel for the Stewards.

          [Sporting Regulation] 43.3 After receiving the end-of-race signal [(the Chequered Flag)] all cars must proceed on the circuit directly to the post-race parc fermé without any unnecessary delay, … and without any assistance (except that of the marshals if necessary). … Any classified car which cannot reach the post-race parc fermé under its own power will be placed under the exclusive control of the marshals who will take the car to the parc fermé.

          So if Sebastian chose to park his car on the track just after he’d passed the Chequered Flag instead of driving it back, then he broke the rules because he could have driven the car back to post-race parc fermé. Presumably the Stewards would get involved, and some sort of punishment given to Aston Martin. I have no idea as to whether that punishment would have been the same as what AM got, or more lenient or more severe than that.

          1. @drycrust

            You’re correct about [Sporting Regulation] 43.3 but not really an issue. Every driver/team is well aware of this and it’s a mute point since they’re already suspecting that their going to be inspected and might be in trouble of passing inspection hence teams instructing drivers to stop on track in hopes that will help them pass inspection.

    4. DTM actually did a rule change for this once. It got embarrassing with most cars stopping on track to “save” fuel 😉

    5. The in lap is a good opportunity to pick up marbles and ensure you meet the weight limit. I heard (a while back mind) that you can collect around 1kg if you purposefully try to collect the marbles.

      1. Yeah but that marbles trick is a bit of a myth as they can weigh the car with fresh tyres fitted if they want.

        Reply moderated
    6. Not having a the cool-down lap would be the most dangerous thing in the world!
      Many times, cars are racing to the line for their position and it would be carnage if a couple cars that finished 30 seconds ahead were now parked 100 meters past the finish line.

      1. @x1znet

        Not to mention the risk of not properly cooling down the engine block and other parts. Too rapid of cooling is not always good for heavily heated metal working within very tight tolerances or it can be said its dangerous to stop moving immediately with a very hot engine causing air to stop flowing through very hot engine creating issues instead of a proper cool down lap to cooling the engine down while under light loads and air flowing through it to cool down before shutting it down.

        Having obstacles in the way after the finish is not good nor safe for back markers racing overlapped at full speed trying to beat each other; that could get ugly.
        This is the reason Varrstappen got scolded for slowing down after the winning finish, then peeling out/burning rubber while lapped cars were approaching the finish at full speed, it’s not safe.

  3. It was always going to be a long shot

    1. I guess with what was at play, it makes a lot of sense for them having a try at it @bernasaurus

    2. Indeed but the plot thickens. Starting to sound like leclerc in bahrain.

  4. Not surprised as the rule was simple and pretty clear cut.

    1. Jonathan Parkin
      9th August 2021, 20:08

      Still doesn’t make it any less gutting though

  5. Man, I love that Hungarian trophy! One of the decent few.

    1. Here is why we need an edit button, @keithcollantine: The podium photo was changed for another without a trace of a trophy. Now I’m totally displaced lol

      1. Michael (@freelittlebirds)
        10th August 2021, 11:48

        @niefer I was wondering what you’re on about ;-)

        Yes to both!

        The trophy looks great!

        And an edit button would be very welcome especially when posting comments from tablets which yield hilarious F1 autocompletes. However, it should be mentioned that this comments section is one of the easiest ones to read! Great formatting.

        1. @freelittlebirds – yeah man, I also very much like the formatting. And thanks for the endorsement, I say we all should keep buzzing Keith around until he complies!

    2. It is a typical Hungary piece indeed. Ugly to the bone but original. Only the Heineken trophy is uglier :)

  6. This is a lost case. It’s not like FIA did something in a hurry and made a mistake. The responsibility lies on Aston Martin’s “shoulders”, so FIA has no other way than disqualify Sebastian. Sorry, even worse things happen. This is not the end of Aston Martin success!

  7. So FIA accept the new evidence that something happened, but don’t care. A sample must be provided, even when there is some kind of issue with the fuel system. I wonder if Aston will ever come out with how much fuel might have escaped during this issue?

    1. Cos the new evidence doesnt change the fact that they couldn’t provide a 1 liter fuel sample right after the race which was plainly stated in the rules. And they needed to fuel the sample to check that the fuel they used in the race was legal.

      Everyone else was playing by that rule and it’s Aston Martin’s responsibility to keep their car in compliance. This would have happened regardless of whether Vettel finished 2nd or 12th.

      If anything their new evidence actually confirms their guilt.

    2. Aston’s argument is ridiculous. The rule is not: give us 1L OR tell us where it might have gone.

  8. The appeal is going to be successful in the sense that the disqualification will be replaced with a time penalty, so that Lewis gets 2nd place but Max remains 10th and Lewis will gain another point in the championship fight.
    It does not rain, it pours.

  9. All teams provide a litre of fuel from both cars every single race. It’s a routine procedure. Could it be that Vettel, who has never been in a position to win in an Aston, pushed harder than he’s done before, using too much fuel?

    1. @greenflag Very likely that they never expected to be fighting for a race win and only fueled enough for a normal “mid field run”.

      1. More likely it’s because the race started wet and looked like the first quarter of the race would be run at reduced speed, not expecting nearly all wet running to be lost to the red flag. I believe a few teams were struggling with fuel because of this.

    2. Yep in which case it was their own fault to begin with for not fueling enough.

  10. If Aston Martin were aware of Seb’s low fuel surely they should have adopted methods to conserve/save fuel which would have gevin Alonso the chance to make it a one two. Or Hammy to take the win either way at least Seb Wouldham come away with some points

    Reply moderated
  11. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
    10th August 2021, 5:17

    If stopping on the track after the flag is allowed, why do teams bother doing a cool down lap after the race? After all, you could theoretically save some lap time by under fueling the car by that much.

    1. Usually because they leave enough margin in their calculations and usually their fuel systems work correctly. This time there was a fuel system issue where more fuel was “discharged” than normal, whatever that means.

      1. AJ (@asleepatthewheel)
        10th August 2021, 16:27

        @yaru I meant to ask, why do all teams not stop just after the flag? You could shave a few seconds from your total race time by making the car a bit lighter by taking out 1 lap worth of fuel. Is being able to drive in to the pits mandatory?

  12. I think this is a close case, but you have to wonder; Why is a car which has obtained damage to its aero parts deemed legal even though it may no longer comply to the geometrical specification in the regulations. Yet a car which experiences an unintended fault in its fuel system causing a lack of fuel at the end of the race, is disqualified?

    You could argue that there is a testing/messureing element in the latter scenerio – the FIA needs a fuel sample it’s in the regulations. But i’d say that goes for aero damage as well, the damage can be to the extent that a car would fail the minimum weight requirements. What then? Or the cars aero surfaces are weakened structually and fails the load-test. What then? I haven’t seen teams getting their cars DSQ’ed on the basis of faulty aero geometry, and frankly if the FIA is this stiff in its interpretation I wonder why.

    1. Good point, makes no sense with these odd rules.

    2. I was gonna say, Max Verstappen should have been also penalised for having half his car missing? (As Horner said). Hamilton should have been penalised for winning at Silverstone with a tyre not using correct tyre pressures? (When he won with a puncture). Aston might use cases like that if they do follow this up further, as it sounds like something broke in the car to prevent them being able to monitor the fuel correctly. Their argument deserves to be heard out.

      1. Krzysztof Piotrowicz
        10th August 2021, 10:23

        Also the punishment does not fit the crime compared to lesser penalties for worse things over the years. A time penalty would be more appropriate.

  13. AM should give up already as this is getting silly.

  14. It does seem like the right decision, though I can understand why Aston Martin would try the appeal as Stewards have, in the past, come up with quite strange rulings which circumvent the actual rules in place, such as the Japanese Grand Prix in 2009 when Rosberg wasn’t penalised despite clearly and measurably not slowing enough during a safety car period because the car’s software was giving a low fuel warning which obscured his delta (i.e. it was ok in that case to break the rules due to a design fault) and Schumacher being penalised 20s in Monaco 2012 despite not breaking any rule on the basis that the stewards throught the rules should have been different.

    If we can keep the rulings consistently like this one for all cars/drivers rather than sometimes allowing excuses to be made then I think it’s overall a good thing (though I’m gutted for Seb on this occassion).

  15. Aston Martin… …I don’t think you’re going to win this one. Changing the story halfway through is not a recipe for winning an appeal.

  16. Again, with all the transgressions and relative penalties like a slap on the wrist for mass crashing the front field or totaling a competitor’s car and sending the driver to hospital, it’s ridiculous that this forfeit 18 points. Especially as necessary testing is surely possible with the remaining fuel, and the whole thing is just a ‘letter of the law’ rule break.

    It’s almost putting the sport in disrepute IMO.

  17. just another organization taking themselves too seriously. holy smokes, you’re in the entertainment industry, not saving lives. this red tape garbage is so unnecessary.
    but….i’m still gonna watch every qualifying and race, why? cause the cars are so damn cool!

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